Visit Back Home

On the way to a family wedding in Monsey.

We stopped back home in Riverdale, NY after 20 years.

Wow, old building still here. 

And the KeyFood supermarket too. 

Had a nice lunch at Kai Fan kosher Chinese food (the Sesame Chicken was great!). 

Went up to my parents old apartment and saw the outlines of where the mezuzah had once stood. 

I wanted to hear their voices through the door and go in to see them again.

It was very emotional, but I felt like their presence was there with us. 

Enjoyed seeing how some (very few) things have changed and all that has otherwise stayed the same 

With seeing my wife’s family, some after many years, it was like I had never not seen them. 

I imagined that this is what dying must be like when you go to the afterlife and there is no time and you see everybody and it’s just like they have always been there. 

That was an amazing realization and feeling for me. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Having Each Other

So I hurt my back last week. 


Incredibly painful. 


Difficult getting up from sitting or laying position. 


Today, I was trying to walk it off a little.


One of my kids was walking with me taking good care of me. 


We ran into a neighbor. 


She was nice and asked about what happened. 


I told her in brief and said how grateful I was for my daughter taking me for a little walk while I try to heal with G-d’s help. 


She smiled and said how lucky I was (which I acknowledged). 


I asked if she had any kids, thinking that she did. 


But she goes to me:

I have no one!


I was a little surprised that she didn’t have anyone and how she said it. 


I sort of repeated it quizzically. 


She goes:

Well I did have a cat but she was 19 years old and I had to put her down. 


I felt really bad for her, especially since I know she had an operation this last year and is planned for another one coming up. 


I said that we’re her neighbors and friends and that she can call on us whenever she needs someone. 


This whole thing just made me so upset–no one should be so alone. 


I  really pray that G-d has mercy on his children and that no one should be alone and that we should all have caring and loving people around us always. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Family and Friends

So I heard this interesting saying yesterday, which goes like this:

Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off.


I looked it up and saw that it is actually from Proverbs 27:10.


Thinking about it a little, I understand that obviously people that are close by can more easily be there and help one another than someone else who is far away. 


At the same time, I always learned growing up that:

Blood is thicker than water.

Family is family, and friends are friends.  Family is forever, but friends can come and go. 


Yet you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. 


There are some friends that go back decades to childhood and they are almost like family. 


Also, there are sometimes family that are disassociated or even “black sheep” of the family. 


I guess in the end what’s most important is how we feel about each other, treat each other, and are there for each other.  


Whatever the designation–family or friends–we need each other.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Relax, It’s Just Sex

Just thought this was a really funny-sad display in the window of this store in Tel Aviv. 


It says:

Relex It’s Just Sex

Forget that Relax is spelled wrong. 


But advertising for sexual items in such a casual way…like it’s sex and what’s the big deal.


Maybe I am old school, where sex actually meant a deep personal relationship and emotional intimacy. 


…Where you partner was also your spouse and best friend.


Now–unfortunately–it’s just sex!


I think as a society that we have lost something here. 


…Something important. 


If it’s just sex, and it’s just with anyone, then what does that leave for us with that someone truly special in our lives? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why We Chase Love

Being a heart alone in this world is very lonely, indeed. 


Chasing another heart, so that we can pair together makes two less lonely hearts.


Two hearts that beat as one making beautiful music together. 


When the hearts are in harmony, we sway and are uplifted flying away into the heavens.  


And when the music is discordant, we are forced to retune and to grow wings that we never even knew we had. 


Hearts that complement each other, help us face the questions we often fear to ask ourselves. 


When these hearts meet, they touch so gently, and like silk they dance a perfect dance.  


What is meaningless alone is all of a sudden meaningful with another. 


What is too painful to bear by oneself is manageable when shared between two. 


And what is joyful is magnified in sweetness when there is someone else to enjoy it with. 


One heart chases another until they embrace that long blissful embrace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Best Baby Carrier Ever

This is just a great picture!


I have to call this out as the best baby carrier ever. 


What a combination between a kangaroo pouch and a cozy snugli.


Anyway, it’s comfortable, fun, and good-looking.


Can’t you just see your baby in this?  

(Thank you to my son-in-law for sharing this with me)

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 


Frightening loneliness statistics:


– One in 11 Americans over age 50 “lacks a spouse, partner, or living child.”


– More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  


– 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 


Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 


The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:


– Smoking 15 cigarettes a day


– Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day


Loneliness is worse for mortality than:


– Obesity 


– Physical activity


“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful…we have to address loneliness,” says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 


Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  


Truly, no man is an island!


Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.


Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 


Alone we die–together we live. 


It’s not just power in numbers, it’s life itself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Columbus Day Apple Picking @Larriland Farms, MD

 

 

Thank you G-d for the beautiful day today.


We got to celebrate Columbus Day and the discovery of this great nation with a day off. 


H-o-l-i-da-y!


We spent some time apple picking at Larriland Farms in Maryland.


They also had a Broccoli picking and a gorgeous field of sunflowers.  


It was a little warm today (up to 90 degrees), but it was nice to be outside and together. 


I am so grateful for every moment and for the delicious apples we brought home. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Monopoly Yerushalmi

I am so excited to play this edition of Monopoly Jerusalem edition. 


The properties of obviously from famous places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, such as The Kenneset, Mount Olives, Mount Herzl, Hebrew University, Montefiore Windmill, Mahane Yehuda Market, The Biblical Zoo, The Israel Museum, Tower of David, and of course, The Western Wall, and more. 


The cards are in both Hebrew and English so I can continue to improve my Hebrew language skills. 


I think this is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, which is  Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).


This is a perfect Shabbat game for after Shul and Kiddish, and I am looking forward to the family sitting down to play Monopoly Jerusalem style. 


I want to also note that Jerusalem along with the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our day) is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, because this is the day on the Hebrew calendar when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in both 586 BCE by the Babylonians as well as in 70 CE by the Romans after they had laid siege to the city–the exact same day of the calendar year over 650 years apart–and so this is a day of commemoration, mourning, introspection for the Jewish people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Today is Father’s Day

What a beautiful Father’s Day card from my daughter. 


Also, the message she wrote to me inside was so thoughtful and mature. 


It is wonderful for me to see her grow up to be such a lovely young lady. 


The cover of the card:

“Father:
Neither an anchor to hold us back, 
nor a sail to take us there, 
but a guiding light whose
love shows us the way.”


As parents, we certainly don’t have all the answers either for ourselves or certainly for our children. 


And frankly, the kids don’t want us to tell them what to do or how to do it. 


The best we can really do is to be there for them–to spend time with them, to support them, to show them we really care, and to provide perspective, balance, and faith. 


I used to love going to my parent’s house even if just to lay on the couch and feel the comfort of being “home” and with them. 


I didn’t have to think about what I did or said–I could just be me, and they loved me for that. 


Now, I want my home to be that for my kids. 


Even though they are adults now, they know we are always here for them in any way that they want or need us. 


Our home is always their home. 


Our love is always surrounding them. 


My father used to say, he would go through fire for his family, and I always knew he meant it. 


I could count on him for anything.


I miss him always, and especially today, Father’s Day. 


But I can carry on his fatherhood to my children and try to be a good dad–there, and loving and giving–no bounds, no expectations, no judgment–just love, plain and simple. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)